String Theory

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One of the biggest divides in life apart from the divide between the ugly and the beautiful (a chasm far greater than mere racial difference) is the divide between the artist and the sportsman

Artists are in general what we at school would have called total ‘spods’.

The kind that would always carry a sick note on sports day and would be the last to be picked for any team. Lacking any physical charm and grace that are the essence of sports stars.

Occasionally however you have artists who actually were quite good at sports Kerouac the ex football player springs to mind and, David foster Wallace.

At one point the cultural colossus who wrote Infinite Jest was a promising young tennis player.

It was an enthusiasm that lead to a series of essays on the subject that are collected String Theory’ a book that has proved the perfect accompaniment to my trips to the US Open.

Erudite as ever, Foster Wallace uses his own personal experience of the game to give you an insiders look into how it actually works, seeing it as a geometry lesson as much as a sport.

Whether he’s talking about the god-like Federer or players who only get as far as the qualification round to second-rate tournaments, he is never anything other than insightful.

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